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Qualifications for A National Interest Waiver Green Card


You may be eligible for a national interest waiver, which allows you to apply for a green card without the sponsorship of an employer, provided your work helps the American economy, educational system, health, or any other area of society.


This waiver is essentially a subset of the EB-2 (One of the most common ways for educated foreign workers to obtain employment-based green cards in the United States is through a category known as “EB-2.”) This is the second (out of five) “preference” category of people who are eligible for green cards based on the work they do employment-based. The key to obtaining this waiver, however, is understanding how to demonstrate that your work will truly benefit the United States.


What Is Being waived? 


Typically, an EB-2 green card application requires an employer to sponsor someone by offering a permanent job and “testing” the labor market to see if there are any qualified U.S. workers.


This procedure, known as labor certification, entails advertising the job in a strict series of steps. It’s a time-consuming and costly process. Furthermore, if the government agency reviewing the case finds that the company identified a suitable U.S. worker but refused to hire that person, or if there were inconsistencies in the application process, the case may be rejected or denied.


The national interest waiver, on the other hand, is granted when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that the individual’s work is so important to our country that there is no need to give priority to a U.S. worker. As a result, the requirements for employer sponsorship and labor certification will be “waived” or set aside.


What Are the Legal Requirements for a Waiver of National Interest?


To be eligible for a national interest waiver, you must first be admitted to the EB-2 category, which requires either an advanced degree or exceptional ability. In addition, you must meet a stringent set of criteria related to your field of expertise. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.


You must have a Master’s, Ph.D., or other post-baccalaureate degrees (or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of experience) to meet the advanced-degree requirement.


Alternatively, you would need to compile lengthy documents demonstrating that you meet at least three of the following to meet the “extraordinary ability” in your field criteria.


  • a certified copy of your academic record attesting to the fact that you’ve received a degree, diploma, certificate, or comparable honor from a college, university, school, or other higher education facility in the subject matter of your remarkable aptitude.
  • letters attesting to your ten or more years of continuous experience in your field.
  • certification for your job or occupation, or a license to practice your profession.
  • Evidence that your remarkable ability has earned you a wage or other form of compensation for your services.


In reality, you will probably need to demonstrate your high level of ability in your industry even if you decide to apply primarily for your advanced degree. This is due to the requirement that you show how your employment would significantly advance American interests to be granted a national interest waiver.


The next step is to demonstrate that you have an advanced degree or remarkable talent (or both), and then you must pass a three-part test that was set in the Matter of Dhanasar case, 26 I&N Dec. 884. (AAO 2016). This entails demonstrating that:


  • The work you want to conduct in the United States is highly meritorious and crucial for the country.
  • To advance your suggested job, you are “well-positioned,” and
  • Overall, it would be in the best interest of the country to exempt you from the standard labor certification and employment standards.


How Do Applicants Submit Applications for the Waiver?


  1. The employer’s or the applicant’s I-140 petition to USCIS should be accompanied by the paperwork proving your eligibility for the national interest waiver.


  1. You may also apply for a green card at the same time if you are already in the United States through the procedure known as adjustment of status if a visa number is immediately available upon approval, as reported on the Department of State’s most recent Visa Bulletin.


  1. You will have to wait until the priority date (the day the I-140 is submitted) if a visa number is not immediately available. How Long Is the Wait for Your Priority Date to Become Current? explains this relatively complicated procedure.


What did Work count Towards a National Interest Waiver?


There is a lot of leeway in this category because “substantial merit” and “national importance” are not precisely defined in the law. The type of work you typically do or concentrate on, rather than your general profession, is more crucial.


For instance, even if we were to argue that teachers as a whole carry out work with significant merit or national significance, teaching by itself does not entitle one to a waiver. However, if the teacher has discovered a way to lessen educational disparities in school systems, this might be considered work of national importance for our nation’s educational system. Technology breakthroughs or developments in science may also qualify.


The improvement of the national economy, the wages and/or working conditions of American workers, the health of American citizens, positive contributions to education, the expansion of access to affordable housing, the improvement of the environment or the wise use of natural resources are all examples of fields with “substantial intrinsic merit.”


Successful national interest waiver cases include those involving an entrepreneur who created an algorithm for an emergency response phone system to help 911 centers locate the caller more quickly and accurately, saving lives; a researcher with a graduate degree in biomedical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering whose work increased understanding of sudden cardiac death; and an academic sociologist whose expertise in analyzing Balkan conflict led to a greater understanding of sudden cardiac death.


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